Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, Travel /

Whether you live in London or in Paris, some things never change: you live a fast-paced life. This means that you are always rushing around. Always.

I hadn’t realised how fast-paced my life was until a few days ago, when I landed in Australia for some much-needed holidays. To cut a long story short, things are a lot more chilled this side of the world. And although I was a bit surprised at first, now I like it.

In London, we look down on whoever dares to walk too slowly. We expect a quick service when we go to a restaurant. Our grocery shopping is done in less than 10 minutes. We moan when the Tube is a few minutes late. We are always in a hurry, and juggling far too many plates. Of course, I am no exception. I always have something to do, somewhere to be. It never stops.

Over here, in Brisbane, things are, well, different. It’s hard to explain, and I didn’t understand it at first. It started with the custom officer, who took the time for a little chat while checking our passports. Unbelievable. Where the hell was I?

Then, the cab driver taking us to the hotel was very nice and rounded the fare down. What was going on?

Suffice to say, it hasn’t stopped ever since. So yes, the service is slower, and everything may take a little bit more time. But it feels very relaxing. I think that I had forgotten what life was about. I thought that the whole world was living at a fast pace, but I was clearly wrong. And frankly, it feels good to take my time for once. People are friendlier, the food is fresher, and walking a bit slower allows me to actually enjoy my surroundings for once. In short, I am less stressed.

Where did I take a wrong turn? I don’t know. How could I forget to take my time and enjoy myself more? I have no idea. It is clearly something that happened to me progressively, and I didn’t see it coming. I need to be more careful.

The funny thing is that I needed to come all the way to Australia to find out that my life was way too fast. So what to do? Maybe I should stay a bit longer. What do you think?

  • I suspect that says less about Australia and more about London. Up here in Northern England life is also slower and friendlier; London is a world apart from the rest of country.

    That said, Australians are generally a friendly bunch. And the weather isn’t conducive to a fast-paced lifestyle, especially in their summer (I have a friend just north of Brisbane, on the Sunshine Coast, who has said she’s had to spend some hours in cold baths as it’s the only way to cope sometimes)!

    • The sun feels really nice…maybe when you live here you start to resent it but I haven’t reached that stage just yet.
      As for London, sometimes I wonder what I am doing there…

  • Alistair P D Bain

    Bien. You think Brisbane is laidback? COME TO PERTH (where I am 🙂 )

    Have you met the Great Australian Abbreviation yet? Impress a local (who will swoon at your French accent, though they might refer to you later as “that Froggy sheila”) by referring to Brisbane as “Brizzie”. I kid you not.

    Anyhoo, welcome to Oz! And watch the sun – it’s a bugger – lots of sunscream, cover up and wear a wide brimmed hat. You know this already, don’t you … ? I hope it’s a grand time for you!

    Al(istair), the Sandgroper (West Australian)

    • Thanks Al! I must admit I love it here. I have never been to Perth but always wanted to go…one day maybe!
      And you are very fortunate to live in such a country. I must admit I would love to live here. If only…

      • Alistair P D Bain

        Well, Mme Muriel, if you do one day make it to Perth, we must meet for a coffee. In the meantime, continue to enjoy Brizzie, hydrate copiously and have an awesome Xmas or whatever!!

        Al 🙂

        • Thanks! Have had a great time. And I need to go to Perth. It will happen. Eventually.

  • Lynn Z

    I have always loved Australia. My favorite: Perth. Lovely place, friendly people, close to the beaches. I think I’ve concocted a dream once when I was first pregnant with my child to retire there 😉 ;-). Hope you’ll continue to have a great time down under!

    • I have never been to Perth but always wanted to go…one day maybe! That said, Brisbane is really nice. Not sure I am coming back!

  • James Casserly Omaexlibris

    It’s always nice to enjoy a friendly, laid back environment, and to be honest I kind of take it for granted as we have a similar society in Ireland. I would hate to live somewhere like New York or London where everything always had to be rushed. Have a lovely holiday and Happy Christmas to you and your family Muriel.

    • I love Ireland for its community spirit…we clearly don’t have it in London. As for Australia, I must admit that I love it here. So much that I wonder what I am doing in London! Have a Happy Xmas James!

  • Louise McDonagh

    I realised quite how fast paced the UK is lastnight. Not that I haven’t noticed before but, I was Christmas grocery shopping in the supermarket and whilst was gently meandering through the aisles people were literally running around grabbing everything they could from the shelves. So stressy. Have a wonderful Christmas.

    • Thank you! I certainly have. And just like you, I have realised that I was rushing around far too much. Time to relax…Coming back will be tough!